Final decline 1945 - 1993

How the gardens fell into disrepair

By Hill Close Gardens

Christine Hodgetts

Derelict buildingHill Close Gardens

After the second world war, ownership of the gardens became concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of enthusiasts. James Smith, already a greengrocer in Barford, bought plots 9 and 16 and installed a large Dutch light greenhouse.  

Plot 17 prior to restorationHill Close Gardens

He subsequently acquired the Market Place shop and plot 19 from his aunt, the widow of William Biddle. The Hill brothers acquired plots 18,25,30 (with 32e) and 31 (with 32f). The Savage family added Plot 23 to Plot 22.  

Plot 5 before restorationHill Close Gardens

In the 1960's, the gardens are, with one exception, well gardened, but only plots 10 and 11 have substantial areas of ornamental planting.  

Plot 7 summerhouseHill Close Gardens

The council bought its first gardens in 1955: plots 12 and 13 and most of plot 7 to extend the racecourse stabling.  

Overgrown glasshouseHill Close Gardens

A 20 ft strip was removed from Plot 19 the following year to provide its access. In 1964, plot 24 was bought by the corporation for the proposed inner Relief Road.  

Derelict PlotHill Close Gardens

This project (proposed in Abercrombie's Development Plan of 1949, but probably discussed earlier by the committee appointed to look forward to post-war reconstruction) was not fully abandoned until 1974 and must have blighted the enthusiasm of the existing gardeners and discouraged potential purchasers.  

Overgrown vegitationHill Close Gardens

Plots 5, 6 and 7 were acquired as additional garden by the Westgate Hotel (former Bowling Green Inn) in 1977.  

Overgrown glasshouseHill Close Gardens

A redevelopment permission for the Hotel, granted in 1989, provided car parking on this part of the site. However, the listing of building 8 in 1994 prevented the implementation of this scheme.  

Interior of overgrown summerhouseHill Close Gardens

A subsequent proposal for housing on the Westgate Hotel site was implemented. The remainder of the site was acquired piecemeal by the District Council in the 1980's and 1990's for housing.  

Overgrown summerhouseHill Close Gardens

After the listing of three buildings on this part of the site and the addition of the gardens to the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens in 1994, planning permission was allowed to lapse.  

Plot 22 summerhouse 1970Hill Close Gardens

Credits: Story

An excerpt from the Historic Appraisal of Hill Close Gardens, copyright Christine Hodgetts - also Patrick Abercrombie and Richard Nickson, Warwick, its preservation and redevelopment, (1949)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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